Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line

Young Reader’s Edition

by Andrew Maraniss

 

So many times it’s hard to get non fiction books into the hands of young readers. I know many love non fiction – my middle grade reader really only likes non fiction. So many though don’t, but that is changing thanks to Young Reader’s Edition books. They take a popular adult non fiction and give a detailed but condensed version of the book with younger reader’s in mind. My middle grader reader and I have read many Young Reader’s Editions and have enjoyed them so much we’ve seeked out the adult book as well .

Strong Inside The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line follows Perry Wallace through out his young school days through his college years. This book is a sport biography but also a historical biography as well. He grew up in an era that was full of racism and people who didn’t want to see him succeed. He didn’t let them hold him back. He had a dream, the talent and the strength and character that took all the way! There is some tough language in here. The author has a note in the beginning saying to whitewash the language would be a disservice and I agree. We need to read about this time in history, we can not forget or go back to that era. If generations going up know don’t know about it history repeats itself. Perry Wallace is one I hope many kids will read about and look up to. He would be an excellent role model that I used his good heart, brains and talent and made something of himself. It wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter. He had to work 10 times harder than most high school and college players but he didn’t let that stop him.  He was not only talent on the basket ball court but he was also very well-known in the courthouse as well. He became a trial attorney and worked with environmental law. He was appointed Environmental Policy Advisory Council by the EPA but also a professor at American University Washington College of Law. I enjoyed this book very much and was quite surprised I’m not a sports gal but he was such an inspiring man! If you have a sports minded boy reader, reluctant reader or a non fiction book-worm hand them a copy of Strong Inside. Don’t be surprised if this one doesn’t stay on your bookshelves much. I have a filling this will be a very popular book choice for upper elementary, middle grade and high school readers.

About the book: The inspirational true story of the first African-American to play college basketball in the deeply segregated Southeastern Conference–a powerful moment in Black history.

Perry Wallace was born at a historic crossroads in U.S. history. He entered kindergarten the year that the Brown v. Board of Education decision led to integrated schools, allowing blacks and whites to learn side by side. A week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Wallace enrolled in high school and his sensational jumping, dunking, and rebounding abilities quickly earned him the attention of college basketball recruiters from top schools across the nation. In his senior year his Pearl High School basketball team won Tennessee’s first racially integrated state tournament.

The world seemed to be opening up at just the right time, and when Vanderbilt University recruited Wallace to play basketball, he courageously accepted the assignment to desegregate the Southeastern Conference. The hateful experiences he would endure on campus and in the hostile gymnasiums of the Deep South turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Yet Wallace persisted, endured, and met this unthinkable challenge head on. This insightful biography digs deep beneath the surface to reveal a complicated, profound, and inspiring story of an athlete turned civil rights trailblazer.

Thank you Puffin books for sending me a copy of Strong Inside. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

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Layover

by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer

 

 

Layover was an OK I liked it and it reminded me alot of a chick lit book for YA genre. I had issues with it as a mom that just bugged me. However even my teen had some of the same issues. First off it has these kids just up and throwing away their phones with very little contact with their parents. They are just supposed to accept that their kids are going to not show up to Christmas vacation because they are getting a divorce. The kids hang with a friend, steal his credit card and car and have a grand old-time at Disney Land, and in the end really face no real punishment. I ended up giving it 3 stars because it was bubble gum book as I would call it. The story was well written but I just couldn’t connect with the characters. My teen gave it a little higher 3 stars but said if I pulled the crap they did I would be have been grounded for life. 🙂 Yes you would so remember that.

About the Book: One missed flight was about to change their lives forever….

Flynn: At first we were almost strangers. But ever since I moved to New York, Amos was the one person I could count on. And together we were there for Poppy. (I mean, what kind of parents leave their kid to be raised by a nanny?) I just didn’t expect to fall for him—and I never expected him to leave us.

Amos: I thought I was the only one who felt it. I told myself it was because we were spending so much time together—taking care of Poppy and all. But that night, I could tell she felt it, too. And I freaked out—you’re not supposed to fall for your stepsister. So I ran away to boarding school. I should have told her why I was leaving, but every time I tried, it felt like a lie.

Thank you Crown Book for Young Readers for sending me Layover. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Land of Permanent Goodbyes

by Atia Abawi

 

How do I begin to describe the incredible journey this book will take you on. It is heart wrenching  raw story. It doesn’t hold back any punches the author describes the horrors of war, living in a constant state of violence while trying to stay alive. Tareq is just a normal teenage boy living a life that no teenager or anyone wants to live. He lives in Syria where he has seen bombings, lost friends, seen his beloved city torn apart literally and figuratively. He still has his family: mom, dad, younger brother, little sister and twin baby siblings and grandma lives with them as well. All that changes in the blink of an eye when bombs are dropped on their apartment complex. Dad was at work and rushes home to find the devastation. The dad decides it’s time to leave and head to Europe while the family he has still can. Part one is graphic and very raw. He witness’s an execution and beheading. I had a hard time reading it, I had to put it down at times. It made me mad, sad, uncomfortable but I should feel all those emotions. If I didn’t I’d be very worried about me. No one should have to witness that. I kept picking it up because I was wrapped up in the story and I had to know what happened to Tareq. I wanted to make sure him and his family made it to safety. Part two of the book enters a new cast of characters. Some are aid workers and you get a backstory for one in particular. She went to Greece for a vacation but got so moved by the refugee’s that she put college on hold and joined an organization that helped the refugees once they made is safely to shore. Alexia is a very likable girl with a heart of gold. You also get to meet two girls from Najib and Jamila they are escaping Afghanistan. They are all that they have left of their family. They are trying to make it Germany to live with an aunt. They become fast friends with Tareq and his younger sister Susan. Maybe all hope isn’t lost, they forge a friendship and maybe even can fall in love during all the despair they are experiencing.  The romance was nothing so don’t worry this isn’t a YA romance novel. This is a refugee story like none I’ve read in the YA genre. I know this story will stay with me. I can’t get Tareq, Susan, Najib, and Jamila out of my head. This author is new to me and she has written another book called The Secret Sky that I’ll be checking out. This is YA, usually most YA can be for a middle grade. It is graphic and a very real raw story so if your middle grade reader wants to read this I’d read it first. I’d give this to a 9th grade and up no problems. This would be a book I think everyone should read at some point. The author gives a very realistic peek inside the life of a refugee and what they go through to survive and find a place they can call home after losing everything near and dear to them.

About the Book:  Narrated by Destiny, this heartbreaking — and timely — story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria is masterfully told by a foreign news correspondent who experienced the crisis firsthand.

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss. Destiny narrates this heartbreaking story of the consequences of war, showing the Syrian conflict as part of a long chain of struggles spanning through time.

 

About the Author:

 Atia Abawi is a foreign news correspondent who was stationed for almost five years in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was born to Afghan parents in West Germany and was raised in the United States. Her first book for teens was the powerful Secret Sky, about forbidden romance between different ethnic tribes. She currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Conor Powell, and their son, Arian, where she covers stories unfolding in the middle east and the surrounding areas.

 

Thank you so much Penguin Teen for sending me a copy of A Land of Permanent Goodbyes for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Dear Martin

by Nic Stone

 

 

Dear Martin is very relevant to what is going on in today’s society and on the news. I remember Ferguson MO like it was yesterday, it is such a scary time. One person I was talking to said he reminded him of what was like way back when and he wished it hadn’t brought back all those nightmare times. He said if Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today he would be so sad and I agree. It’s like we took 2 steps forward than 2 giant leaps backwards. Dear Martin will make the reader uncomfortable, and it should, it better make you uncomfortable. It will also open your eyes with this very   raw in your face look at police brutality and racism. I do want to  say not all cops are bad there are so many great ones who don’t agree with this and don’t do this. Justyce is instantly stereotyped because he is a African-American teen wearing a hoodie. He is being a gentleman and helping his drunk girlfriend into the car but to the cops he is a big bad carjacker. Justyce has to deal with all the anger and hurt he is feeling and he writes letter’s to Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Those were my favorite parts of the book. Doctor Martin Luther King Jr fought for equal rights for all in a peaceful way and he protest didn’t destroy property or harm people. Dear Martin is a book that high school readers should read. For me it opened my eyes beyond what I hear on the news to what is going on places. I think this would be a great book for high school or college classes to use to discuss the state we are in now. This book is raw and realistic so it does have language and violence – but it has positive role models and a very powerful moving message. Nic Stone is a very talented writer and I can’t wait to read more books by her.

About the Book: Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the cross hairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack

Thank you so much Penguin Random House and Crown Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read Dear Martin. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Everless

by Sara Holland

Publication date: January 18, 2018

Most people find the forest frightening, believing the old tales of fairies who will freeze the time in your blood, or witches who can spill your years out over the snow with only a whisper. 

Doesn’t that opening sentence grab you, it did me! It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA fantasy book that has really captured me and held me as a reader. Something about them just doesn’t click with me. All that changed when I got the chance to read a copy of Everless.  

In this world your time is measured in blood, literally. If you owe you can be bleed for a day, week, month or even a year. They turn your blood into iron coins, and Jules is in need of some money. Her father is very ill and doesn’t have much time. If he gives any blood it might be the last of him. So Jules does something she never thought she’d do ever. She returns to Everless a place where she grew up but ran from to get away from a ruthless boy who is now a man. She has a plan but might have been a little rushed when she thought it up and sometimes (most of the time) plans never go exactly the way you want or need them too. Jules starts to unravel the mystery of her and her father’s past and learns that things were not as she was told or remembered. There is 2 brother’s in the picture so of course their has to be the YA love triangle. 🙂 It’s OK and really was just a small bit part of the book to me. I liked that it didn’t consume the book. The world building was great and I could really envision the places and characters. There are so many plots twist, just when you think OK I think I’m getting it you get thrown another curve ball.  I liked that it kept me on my toes, made it a fast moving story. The plot seems very unique to me and I don’t think I’ve read anything like Everless before.

I couldn’t believe that this is a debut novel for Sarah Holland! This girl has some major writing talent and I can’t wait to see where she goes. I can’t wait to read book 2 of the series. According to GoodReads it has a title: EverMore and it comes out January of 2019! Eeks that is so far away. 😦  This is a YA fantasy book, but I think it would be alright for older middle grade readers. Jules is a good person and role model. She is strong and doesn’t back down from a challenge. The violence is there but very minimal – strong language and adult situations are very mild and infrequent. I would be fine with given my middle grade reader this book to read.

about the book: EVERLESS presents the kingdom of Sempera, where your life’s blood is not only your time on earth but also something that can be drained and magically converted into money. Here we meet 17-year-old Jules, who’s tired of living in poverty, always at the mercy of the tax collector, ever since she and her father were banished from the Gerling estate when she was still a kid. Now that her childhood friend Lord Roan Gerling is about to marry the queen’s heiress, the estate is taking on extra help and paying handsomely for it. Despite her father’s warnings never to go near the estate again, Jules determines to get work there. Lucky (and pretty) enough to be selected, she’s put to work in the kitchen. Being back on the estate brings back a lot of memories, and those memories start to raise more and more questions about who she is and where she came from. If she can get close to the queen and find what’s hidden in the Gerling family vault, she just might find the answers she’s looking for.

Thank you HarperTeen and BookSpark for allowing me to read and review Everless. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.

The Secret of Nightingale Wood

by Lucy Strange

Publication Date: October 31,2017

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Where to buy: AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks A Million  ( I am not an affiliate of these places I just liked the book very much and wanted to make it easy if you would like to buy a copy to enjoy as well.)

 

 

1919. Henry has moved to the countryside with her parents and her baby sister, Piglet – all still scarred by the death of her brother. Alone in her head, she begins to explore her surroundings, encouraged by her only friends – characters from her favourite books. Nobody much notices when she wanders into the woods at the bottom of the garden and meets Moth, a striking witch-like woman. Together they form a bond that could help Henry save her family.

This book turned out to be nothing like I expected. I was expecting a sweet little fairy tale like book. Don’t get me wrong it is a sweet fairy tale like book but it is also so much more. What I read was a sad haunting book  that will stay with me. I loved every minute of this and wish I didn’t reading it all in one setting, I didn’t want it to end. Henry (Henrietta) was such a strong spunky girl who just wanted her family back to the way it was before the accident. Henry is lonely and has a very active imagination and curiosity. She ask questions, ones the adults don’t want to answer and think she is too young to understand or should be asking. Henry is a big believer in books and fairy tales, all my favorite children’s classics were mentioned through out this lovely book. She meets a “witch” in the woods, just like the books she reads. However Moth isn’t a witch at all just a sad grieving woman who befriends Henry and believes in her when no one else does. The two end up being just what each other needs to help them start healing from the past.  The Abbott family has a long road to travel before they are all better but if they can get back together as a family they just might make it after all. This book tackles many issues from grief, family drama, wartime England, Hope and finding ones true self and voice in the face of despair. This book is for ages 10+ but I really think it will capture readers of all ages. This will be my number 1 book for 2017.  I just can’t imagine reading anything I will enjoy more this year than The Secret of Nightingale Wood!

Thank you so very much Chicken House books and Scholastic for sending me this amazing book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free copy of The Secret of Nightingale Wood.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

by Erika L Sanchez

 

 

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. 

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

This story started off with me not liking Julia at all. I can get her attitude after everything that has happened except she was this abrasive before the accident. She had the biggest chip on her shoulder and was going to make sure to make everyone around her as miserable as she is.  Then the book started to develop a little more and I was starting to understand Julia, her family and the heartache they are going through. Personally I don’t like to read and usually don’t finish books where a child dies. They are just to hard and a mom’s worse nightmare. While this wasn’t a favorite book of mine I think I just might not have been the best reader for this one.  I just got done reading a book where the family unravels after the older sister dies unexpectedly so very similar in plots. So maybe it was just a little to familiar, even though they were very different in characters and writing styles. I liked that it had a very diverse cast of characters. I liked how the author depicted mental illness and how people grieve differently when a loved one passes away. I’m glad I read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. I will say this is a pretty dark contemporary YA novel and not one I would like my middle grade reader read. So many YA’s are ok for middle grade readers as well, this is not one. It has some pretty tough  to understand issues that the younger reader would not understand .  I say give it a chance start reading this, it might just capture you and keep you reading.

Thank you Knopf  Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.